Washington Update: Week of March 19

Washington Update

Budget & Appropriations (2018 Offering of Letters)

  • Lawmakers are racing against a Friday, March 23 deadline to enact a spending package to avoid another government shutdown. Appropriators are close to an agreement on an omnibus spending package that would cover the rest of fiscal year 2018.
  • House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.-23) and appropriators want the House to debate draft legislation by March 21 or March 22. Although, that would leave little time for the Senate to complete action on the legislation.
  • So far, it’s unclear whether the new spending package will include funding for the president’s U.S.-Mexico border wall, immigration provisions to protect Dreamers, fixes to the Affordable Care Act, and additional money to combat opioids, or other policy riders.

Farm Bill

  • The expected release this week of a bipartisan farm bill proposal has been halted after Democrats balked at possible cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program (SNAP).
  • All Democratic members of the House Agriculture Committee signed a letter opposing the legislative changes to SNAP.
  • House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin C. Peterson (D-Minn.-07) has stopped negotiations until the committee’s chairman shares the text of the proposed farm bill, along with Congressional Budget Office cost estimates and impact assessments.
  • House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas-11) could move the legislation out of committee without help from Democrats.
  • However, that could make it more difficult to win support from Democrats. If conservatives were dissatisfied with the legislation, Conaway would need some Democratic votes to avoid defeat on the House floor.
  • The current farm bill expires Sept. 30, 2018.
  • The Food for Peace Modernization Act was introduced last week. Food for Peace is a U.S. food aid program that is part of the farm bill.
  • This bipartisan legislation seeks to modernize U.S. food aid programs and provide millions more people with lifesaving aid at no additional cost.
  • Bread for the World is supportive of this bill. We hope the agriculture and foreign affairs committees can work together to ensure food aid remains fully funded and that we can continue to modernize the program so more people are reached faster and more efficiently.

Act Now!

Call (800-826-3688) or email your members of Congress and urge them to co-sponsor the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act. The legislation’s reauthorization will strengthen U.S.-funded global agricultural innovation and build up the political will needed to end global hunger and malnutrition in our lifetime.

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